Life’s a beach, then you return to work

Gettin some sun

It’s been just over two weeks since our big beach vacation, and I’m just now finding time to share details. Time is short when you’re having kids.


In brief – we spent a four nights at Myrtle Beach, sandwiched between a couple nights in Fayetteville. It was me, the wife, the Gs, the Teen and The Teen’s Friend, who may as well be an adopted daughter. We stayed at the Holiday Sands North, which is right on the strip. It had two kiddie pools, a lazy river, two hot tubs and a big pool outdoors. Plus we were beachfront.

Overall, the stay was okay. The hotel gets a lot of use, and it shows. And the desk clerk fibs. But more on that. Here are some vacation Robservations.

Wave bye to the waves.
Last year Gabby loved the water. We couldn’t keep her out of it. Even when she ate a wave, she’d laugh and play. Not this year. She was all sand, all the time. No water for her. The same went for Gavin. He would have none of it either.

I think it was because of Hurricane Bertha, which was 1,000 miles off the coast but had a noticeable impact on the undertow and the waves. They weren’t large waves, but he seemed to “hit” harder than normal. Regardless, the G’s were more than happy to dig, dug and dirty.

Big G

He speaks!
Sometime during the trip Gavin learned to address his mother by name. But he wouldn’t simply say “mom” or “ma ma.” Oh no. Instead, as he sat crouched in his car seat as the miles zoomed by, he’d say “Maaaaaaaa? Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?”, holding out the one syllable for his fun or our displeasure. We weren’t sure.

Friends! Won’t let you down. Friends!
Every trip to the pool was a new opportunity for Gabby to find a friend. Everyday there was someone new she found to play with. Here’s two quick stories of such friends.

One little girl, from Tennessee, was about four or five. I asked her name and she said what sounded like “Ray Jay” or “A-Lay.” She repeated it thrice, so I stuck with RayJay. That was her name for two days. One the third day we saw her, she had her big sister with her. When they left, the big sister said, come on “Haley,” as in rhymes with “Raley.” Now THAT’S one Tennessee accent.

Another girl was Sarah, who took to Gabby like Forrest to Bubba. They played together most of one afternoon. Sarah was nine. While I was sitting in the hot tub, Gabby came running over to join me and Sarah followed. I struck up a conversation.

ME: So you have any brothers or sister.

SARAH: (said matter-of-factly) No. I’m an only child.

ME: Where do you live?

SARAH: Anderson, South Carolina.

ME: I know where that is. We live in Boone, in the mountain of North Carolina.

SARAH: I know where that is. We talked about it in school, when we learned about slavery and the Civil War.

True story.


The Teens and cats have something in common.
The two Teens were very un-Teen like. They would have nothing to do with the water. Not the ocean. Nor the pools. All they wanted to do was:

– Walk the beach in regular attire
– Walk to the ice cream shop for ice cream
– Stay up all night shooting “hot guys” on the beach with laser keychains
– Demand to go shopping

They got into the lazy river, ONCE. I dared splash them. They went all Wicked Witch of the West on me. “My hair! My hair! Don’t get my hair wet! My hair!” There was a rather large older woman wading in the river wearing a red shower cap, and I offered to see if she had any spare to share. As I giggled the Teens went back to the room.

Never trust the front desk.
A family of friends from Fayetteville spent one day with us. We planned to go out to eat. I went to the front desk and asked the clerk if he could suggest an affordable buffet. He pointed me to one a couple blocks away, which had a buffet at “about $14.” Sounds reasonable.

So we pile up in our vehicles – four adults, two teens, two toddlers and two infants. We get to the restaurant and take our season. Buffet? $24.

We stayed, but ordered off the menu. And swore never to trust a front desk.

By the way, the restaurant was staffed with young, barely comprehensible, Russian women. My friends struck up a conversation and learned they were part of some work-exchange program. Later, we went to the new Pavillion, and I spied more Russians working there too. Odd.

Next year get another room.
The room we six shared consisted of two rooms, connected by a hallway made up of the bathroom and kitchen area. We also had a balcony. The Teens got the room by the door, while the other four took the living room/bedroom/balcony area. Not one night did us parents manage to get to sleep prior to 11, yet both mornings one of the Gs was up bright and early. The pools didn’t open until 10, and gettin sunblocked/dressed/prepared for the beach made more noise than two Teens on a balcony at midnight with laser keychains.

So next year, we’re gettin three rooms. Mama needs her shuteye.

gabby in the air


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